Have you ever wondered how much 1966 nickels are worth? Maybe you have one in your possession and you are curious if it is worth anything significant.
If this sounds like you, you are not alone. The 1966 nickel is a popular coin in circulation today. In fact, some varieties of it can be quite valuable if they are in mint condition.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the history of 1966 nickels, their features and values depending on their condition – from “Good” to “Fine” to “Extremely Fine” to “Uncirculated.” We’ll also explain what makes a 1966 nickel rare and valuable, as well as any errors that could affect its value. So read on if you are curious and want to know everything there is to know about the 1966 nickel! Let’s go!
1966 Nickel Details
- Category: nickel
- Mints: Philadelphia
- Total mintage: 156,208,283
- Obverse designer: Felix Schlag
- Reverse designer: Felix Schlag
- Edge: plain
- Diameter: 21.2 millimeters (0.835 inches)
- Thickness: 1.95 millimeters (0.077 inches)
- Composition: 75% copper, 25% nickel
- Weight: 5 grams
The 1966 nickel is a standard Jefferson nickel with Felix Schlag’s portrait of Thomas Jefferson, America’s third president, on the obverse. It also contains the phrases, “In God We Trust,” “Liberty,” and the year “1966” surrounding Jefferson’s stately profile.
The reverse of the coin features an image of Monticello, which was Jefferson’s beloved estate in Virginia. The back also contains the phrase “E Pluribus Unum” arching across the top, the word “Monticello” directly under the famous building, the denomination “Five Cents” curving under that, and then the phrase “United States of America” following the bottom edge of the coin.
In 1966, there was a shortage of coins, and they ceased to list mint marks for a few years. Therefore, there are no mint marks on the 1966 nickel. Prior to 1965, any mint marks were located on the back of the coin, and then in 1968, the mint mark was moved to the obverse, next to Jefferson.
The 1966 nickel has a plain edge, is made from 75% copper and 25% nickel, and weighs 5 grams, with a diameter of 21.2 millimeters (0.835 inches) and a thickness of 1.95 millimeters (0.077 inches).
It may seem strange that this coin would be considered so valuable in some cases. This is because a whopping total of 156,208,283 nickels were coined this year – it was definitely not a rare coin, by any means! However, there are certain varieties and errors from this year that make those particular nickels worth a pretty penny, and we will discuss more of that later in this article.
1966 Nickel Value Chart
1966 Nickel Value Chart
|Mint Mark||Good||Fine||Extremely Fine||Uncirculated|
|1966 No Mint Mark Nickel||–||–||–||$0.28 to $5.70|
1966 Nickel Values and Varieties Guides
1966 No Mint Mark Nickel Value
- Type: nickel
- Edge: plain
- Mint mark: none
- Place of minting: Philadelphia
- Year of minting: 1966
- Face value: $0.05
- $ price: $0.28 to $5.70
- Quantity produced: 156,208,283
- Designer: Felix Schlag
As we have mentioned, there were no mint marks on the 1966 nickel. As well, there were a great number of these coins made at the time. Therefore, it is not considered a rare variety of coin and its value lies in the condition that it is in – from “Good” to “Fine” to “Extremely Fine” to “Uncirculated.”
The condition of a 1966 nickel is an important factor in determining its value. Generally speaking, coins that appear more worn will be worth less than coins that are in better condition. In other words, a “Good” condition coin will be worth less than an “Extremely Fine” or “Uncirculated” one. Additionally, some rare varieties can fetch much higher prices.
In “Good” condition, 1966 no mint mark nickels from the US Mint in Philadelphia are worth about face value, which is five cents. Similarly, 1966 nickels that are in “Fine” condition and those that are in “Extremely Fine” condition are also only worth about five cents, generally speaking.
Aside from the error coins and variety coins, the value for the 1966 nickel really lies in the “Uncirculated” grade condition. At this level, it starts at around 28 cents each and then rises as the condition of the coin improves. Generally, the value goes up to about $5.70 per coin; however, a coin in mint condition did sell at auction for about $1,800, so you just never know!
Remember this disclaimer though – if you find yourself in a situation where you have a nice-looking 1966 nickel on your hands (or any nice-looking coin for that matter!), you should always check with a professional coin dealer to get an accurate assessment of its value before buying or selling it. Errors and varieties can be nearly impossible to notice if you don’t have a coin microscope or a professional looking at them.
History of the 1966 Nickel
Now that we understand the value of the 1966 nickel, let’s look at a bit of its history.
The 1966 nickel was sometimes referred to as the Jefferson nickel, as opposed to the Buffalo nickel, for example, which came before it from 1913 to 1938. The reason it’s called the Jefferson nickel is because of its obverse, which features a portrait of Thomas Jefferson looking to his right. On the reverse of the 1966 nickel, you will see a depiction of Monticello – Jefferson’s home in Virginia in his later years.
Originally designed by Felix Schlag in 1938, the German-born designer and sculptor who immigrated to the United States a few years earlier ended up winning an open competition held by the United States Mint to design the coin. Since a new nickel design was proposed in order to honor Thomas Jefferson on his 200th birthday, Schlag engraved an image of the third president in a strikingly strong pose that felt very American – and the US Mint loved it. The US Mint ultimately gave Schlag a prize of $1,000 for his design.
It took Felix Schlag a few revisions before the US Mint accepted his final coin design later that year, but once they did, the Jefferson nickel was born and has been in circulation ever since. The 1966 nickel is now an important part of American coinage history.
1966 Nickel Grading
As we have mentioned, the 1966 nickel is, of course, one of the most well-known nickels from US coinage history, and the value of this coin depends on the condition it is in.
But what exactly is the coin grading process? Grading a coin means looking at a coin closely, and inspecting it thoroughly, in order to decide how much it is worth.
As we have briefly mentioned, the grades range from “Good” to “Fine” to “Extremely Fine” to “Uncirculated.” Coins that are in “Good” condition generally have a lot of wear, and may not have much of the original details left. On the other hand, coins that are in “Uncirculated” condition will appear “perfect” in the eyes of the grader – there won’t be any signs of wear and tear or even circulation at all, as if it came straight from the factory yesterday.
There are also Proof coins, which are coins that have been specially struck with extra sharp details, usually for collectors or display purposes. They are not released to the public for business circulation.
When grading any coin, like a 1966 nickel, the grader is looking at various factors such as luster, strike, eye appeal and surface preservation. Each of these can affect the grade, and therefore the value, of a coin.
Nickel grading is a delicate process – it requires special knowledge and experience to properly assess the condition of a coin. For those who are unfamiliar with grading coins, the American Numismatic Association offers various information on coin collecting and grading, and that is a great place to start if someone is confused and wants to learn more.
1966 Nickel Errors
There are many factors that can affect the value of a coin. For example, errors such as misprints can affect the value significantly. This is partially because they are much harder to come by compared to regular ones. Having an error coin makes those who have one in their possession quite lucky indeed!
1966 Nickel Struck Off Center Error
One of the most valuable 1966 nickel errors is the struck off center error. As the name suggests, a coin with this error would be accidentally struck off center, leaving an area of blank metal on one side and only a part of the design visible.
This type of error coin is quite rare and can fetch high prices for those who find it. One such example was a nickel that had been struck off center by 60% – that is quite a large amount when you think about it! This particular coin also had an “Uncirculated” grade of 66, and it was sold for over $454, well over the average valuation of a run-of-the-mill nickel.
1966 Nickel Second Strike Off Center Error
Similarly to the “struck off center” error, the second strike off center error is another type of error that is quite rare and valuable. In this case, the coin is struck off center during the second striking and not necessarily during the first, resulting in a design where the image is doubled, sometimes quite dramatically.
This type of error can be quite valuable, as well as uniquely interesting to observe. One such 1966 nickel surfaced in public, and it had the second strike a while 40% off center! The way the obverse looked, it appeared to have two distinct Jefferson profiles instead of one, and the reverse was doubled as well.
Not to mention that the grade on this specific coin was an “Uncirculated” grade 62. This coin sold for an impressive $660!
1966 Nickel Mint Error
Aside from the two types of errors mentioned above, there is also an error called the Mint error. This error occurs when a planchet for a different sized coin is accidentally used to create the intended coin.
As crazy as it sounds, one particular Mint error from 1966 involves a nickel being struck onto a dime planchet instead of its normal five-cent one.
This error of course is exceedingly rare, as well as pretty interesting (and a bit comical) to behold. Even at an upper mid-level grade, a coin with this error sold at an auction recently for over $300 and another sold for about $860! Not too shabby for accidental dime-sized coins from 1966.
Another example from 1966 is a nickel being struck on a copper penny! One such red nickel surfaced fairly recently, and amazingly enough, it was also in mint state 64 condition (which is considered “Uncirculated”)! This one sold for $300.
1966 Nickel Rotated Die Error
Lastly, an error worth mentioning for 1966 nickels is the rotated die error. This type of error occurs when the die that strikes coins is not properly aligned with the planchet, resulting in a design that appears to be rotated or misaligned in some way. For example, the obverse and reverse may not be facing the direction that they should, compared to each other.
This type of error can be quite noticeable – once such an example was sold at an auction recently for about $200.
1966 Nickel Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know more about the 1966 nickel, here are some frequently asked questions:
How Much is a 1966 Nickel Worth?
The value of a 1966 nickel depends on its condition; however, it is generally worth somewhere around $0.28 to $5.70. Coins that are in “Uncirculated” condition with interesting errors will be worth a lot more than coins in poor condition without errors.
Are 1966 Nickels Made of Nickel?
Yes, but not entirely. The 1966 nickel actually contains 75% copper and 25% nickel composition.
As you can see, there are many factors that can affect the value of a 1966 nickel. While regular coins may have a standard value, those with errors such as mints errors, strike off center errors, or rotated die errors can be much more valuable. No matter the condition of your 1966 nickel, however, it’s still a great part of history and worth hanging onto!
What is your favorite 1966 nickel error? Let us know in the comments.